Low-cost broadband internet service

Broadband (high-speed) home internet service is a necessity in today’s world, but standard service plans are not always affordable for low-income households. This webpage lists the various low-cost broadband service options available and provides links to program webpages, where consumers can get details about eligibility criteria, prices, availability and more.

Low-cost broadband internet service

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Families who have to get by without broadband (fast) internet at home are at a disadvantage in today’s world, but high-speed internet service can be too expensive for many households. Fortunately, there are programs that make home broadband affordable for low-income consumers. 

It is necessary to apply for these programs, and eligibility requirements vary. Internet speeds, installation/equipment requirements and prices vary, too, but the monthly cost is typically between $5 and $15. (Not all services are available in every part of the U.S.)

Learn more about broadband internet and low-income service options in Getting up to speed: Broadband internet for low-income households. Visit the website(s) below for the most up-to-date program information.

Internet service provider (ISP) programs:

Access from AT&T

CenturyLink Internet Basics

Charter Spectrum Internet Assist

Comcast Internet Essentials

EveryoneOn Connect2Compete

Federal Lifeline

The federal Lifeline program, which has for years provided discounts on phone service for low-income households, now offers eligible households the option to apply their monthly discount to broadband service (instead of phone, or bundled with phone).

If you are already a Lifeline household, contact your current provider to find out what it offers. Or, use the online locator tool to find a Lifeline service provider in your area. (Lifeline broadband may not be offered in all areas right away; the change is being phased in over five years. However, some large carriers may choose to simply discount their standard internet plans by the amount of the Lifeline discount, which is $9.25 per month.)

If you do not already participate in the Lifeline program, find out if you are eligible

California LifeLine is the state’s version of the federal Lifeline program. California LifeLine does not currently allow participants to apply their monthly discount to broadband service, but if you are a California resident and you want only phone service (landline or wireless), you can receive a larger discount through the California program than through the federal program. Compare discounts.

Learn about the California LifeLine program, including eligibility criteria, in Connect to California LifeLine and Save!

Published / Reviewed Date

Published: February 23, 2017

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